I found this quite interesting. In all my life, in every congregation I ever attended, I was never encouraged or truly ‘allowed’ to ascertain my own interpretation of the Bible. Many different versions and translations were used by the varied churches I went to, but always the rule of thumb was that the ruling body (deacons, minister, elders–all men, of course) instructed us and told us what the HOLY WORD meant. If you are confident in and truly believe the word you preach, why circumvent any attempt towards understanding of the text? What exactly are you afraid of, anyway, elders? I tend to think the fear is that if congregations are allowed to think for themselves, they will begin to question some of the precepts that have stood for so long due to a historical precedent of blind faith. I also believe that the last people who might want a spark of illumination bandied about are those who build straw houses. Just sayin’.
Nice article. Always interesting to see different interpretations, not only of the Bible, but of the intent behind it relative to modern culture as opposed to the time period(s) it hails from. The biggest peeve I have with modern organized religion is its insistence in telling me what it means rather than letting me decide for myself. I am not a small stupid child, and I do not require spoon feeding with whatever agenda-laced doctrine your church is pushing. I can read, cogitate, and process it for myself, thanks.